21-May-2003 -- A friend sent me a link to the confluence page, and directed my attention to an attempted visit to 55 N, 121 W. When I checked out the visit, I learned that it was on the property of a closed coal mine owned by Quintette Operating Corporation. Very handy, since I work there, coordinating the reclamation at the site.
The mine began production in 1983, and another mine nearby called Bullmoose began at that time as well. At its peak, there were 1600 people working at Quintette, and Tumbler Ridge had a population of 5,000.
The exact spot of the confluence is on a large pile of "coarse refuse", coaly shale that was separated from the raw coal. This has been smoothed out and readied for seeding with a grass/legume mixture, which will take place in June of this year. The aim of the reclamation is to return the land to wildlife habitat. The mine closed in 2000, and most of the mine area of 3700 hectares has been reclaimed. Wildlife are using the site already; I saw a herd of 4 deer on the way to the site, and some ducks in a sedimentation pond about 200 meters from the confluence.
The Tumbler Ridge area is indeed spectacular and relatively remote, with excellent outdoor recreation opportunities. The local outdoors club maintains a photo gallery website which showcases the area's beauty.
The town is undergoing a renaissance after the closing of the mines, with many people moving in for the small town lifestyle. Housing is ridiculously cheap - a 20 year old three bedroom house can be had for CDN$40,000!